Shopping Discussion

Retailers showing fake discounts to entice customers

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  • Nov 11th, 2020 4:32 pm
[OP]
Member
Jul 15, 2012
266 posts
70 upvotes
Calgary

Retailers showing fake discounts to entice customers

Anyone else seeing retailers jack up regular price on items and applying a big discount, to make it look like a deal?

For example, I've been watching an item at bestbuy and noticed it went on sale for 150 off, now it's 700. This means regular price would be 850. However, I also saw regular price before this week was actually 750 because it's been sitting at 700 with a 50 discount for a while now. This suggest they raised the regular price only to bring it back down to the same point, and in the process showing a bigger discount. While this is probably not false advertising because its still 700 after either discount, I do feel this is a grey area that retailers are abusing to fool customers.
48 replies
Deal Fanatic
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Dec 28, 2007
7957 posts
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Alberta
Canadian Tire is probably the worse for doing this.
Jr. Member
User avatar
Mar 28, 2008
181 posts
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easylistener wrote: Anyone else seeing retailers jack up regular price on items and applying a big discount, to make it look like a deal?

For example, I've been watching an item at bestbuy and noticed it went on sale for 150 off, now it's 700. This means regular price would be 850. However, I also saw regular price before this week was actually 750 because it's been sitting at 700 with a 50 discount for a while now. This suggest they raised the regular price only to bring it back down to the same point, and in the process showing a bigger discount. While this is probably not false advertising because its still 700 after either discount, I do feel this is a grey area that retailers are abusing to fool customers.
You almost need to do your research before buying a big price tag item by looking at different store and check their flyers, at least 2 months prior to Black Friday. Also you should look at their price match policy, sometimes you may able to get the price difference back at the end of price match period.
Deal Expert
Feb 9, 2012
16842 posts
3996 upvotes
Toronto
easylistener wrote: Anyone else seeing retailers jack up regular price on items and applying a big discount, to make it look like a deal?
What I noticed is that 2001 Audio Video would have a sale on a TV with a current regular retail price shown. (not an older one from a while ago)
while Best Buy tries to offer a sale price based on the original regular retail price. Two TV's being sold at the exact same price both places, but Best Buy will insist that it's a $398 TV while 2001 Audio Video is honest enough to admit that after the sale the regular retail will be $328. (sale price at the time was $268)
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Deal Addict
Jun 20, 2020
4771 posts
4613 upvotes
Toronto
easylistener wrote: Anyone else seeing retailers jack up regular price on items and applying a big discount, to make it look like a deal?

For example, I've been watching an item at bestbuy and noticed it went on sale for 150 off, now it's 700. This means regular price would be 850. However, I also saw regular price before this week was actually 750 because it's been sitting at 700 with a 50 discount for a while now. This suggest they raised the regular price only to bring it back down to the same point, and in the process showing a bigger discount. While this is probably not false advertising because its still 700 after either discount, I do feel this is a grey area that retailers are abusing to fool customers.
This could be "False or misleading ordinary selling price representations" under the Competition Act when they raised the regular price

Price-related representations
The Competition Act contains five provisions dealing specifically with price representations: four under the civil regime (false or misleading ordinary selling price representations [74.01(2) and 74.01(3)], bait and switch selling [74.04], sale above advertised price [74.05] ) and one under the criminal regime (double ticketing [54]). Price representations may also be addressed under the general provisions against false or misleading representations [section 52 or paragraph 74.01(1)(a)]. In addition to enforcing these provisions, the Bureau has endorsed the Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code which provides a mechanism to provide redress to consumers when there is a scanner error.

https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic ... html#sec01
Member
Aug 26, 2019
331 posts
348 upvotes
The6ix
To be honest my friend, this is nothing new
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
6410 posts
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SW corner of the cou…
Since various laws and court rulings in various countries resulted in fixed prices going away (through being banned), that's why you have MSRP. Only a suggestion and prices can hence be lower, or higher, than what the manufacturer suggested.
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
[OP]
Member
Jul 15, 2012
266 posts
70 upvotes
Calgary
Dhanushan wrote: This could be "False or misleading ordinary selling price representations" under the Competition Act when they raised the regular price

Price-related representations
The Competition Act contains five provisions dealing specifically with price representations: four under the civil regime (false or misleading ordinary selling price representations [74.01(2) and 74.01(3)], bait and switch selling [74.04], sale above advertised price [74.05] ) and one under the criminal regime (double ticketing [54]). Price representations may also be addressed under the general provisions against false or misleading representations [section 52 or paragraph 74.01(1)(a)]. In addition to enforcing these provisions, the Bureau has endorsed the Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code which provides a mechanism to provide redress to consumers when there is a scanner error.

https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic ... html#sec01
Had a look through it and seems you may have a point there. This act mentions that the item should have been sold for either a long time (time test) or at reasonably large quantities (volume test) at the regular price for a retailer to advertise it as such. I believe the item I referred to originally has never been sold at 850 at any point in time because it's fairly new to the market. In fact, a higher-end version of the item is sold at source, staples and other retailers and I believe they have never priced those at 850 either.
Deal Addict
Dec 26, 2014
4796 posts
4559 upvotes
Winnipeg, MB
Best Buy has been doing this for years. I caught it one time when looking at a TV. They put their Boxing Day flyer out early and it had a TV in there with a sale price and a savings claim, but if you looked at their site you could find the TV sitting there currently on sale with a savings claim that produced a completely different regular price.

E: Here, found it. From Boxing Day 2014

Image

On December 23rd the "regular" price was $2239.99. For Boxing Day the "regular" price was advertised as $2499.99.
Sr. Member
Jan 4, 2008
704 posts
337 upvotes
Mississauga
That's why I love Amazons price tracker. You can see if it's truly a good deal or not.

I hope one day companies are banned from doing this. You're not allowed claiming a full price is a certain amount if that hasn't been the full price for a specific number of days over the course of the past X months or year.

Even food chains do it. Technically full price pizzas at some major chains are $15-20 or whatever it is, but they constantly have $8.99 specials or whatever, so is $15 even their full price anymore when 80% of the year it's on sale?

And then same applies for advertising sales. Stores shouldn't be allowed claiming "up to X% off" sales when maybe 1% of the items are 70% off and all others are 25% off. There needs to be a minimum threshold.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jan 9, 2011
11109 posts
13622 upvotes
Vancouver
jackrabbit000 wrote: Canadian Tire is probably the worse for doing this.
Winners has CT beat on this one. “Compare at $85. Our price: $29.99”. Yeah go to Walmart and it’s $19.99.

Loblaws City Market once had Lavazza coffee on sale, two for $9, or $5 each. I lifted up the sale price tag and the regular price was underneath: $4.49! Their “sale” was charging you an extra 51¢, but if you buy two they charge you only an extra 2¢. Crooks.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2010
5791 posts
2631 upvotes
Toronto
Kiraly wrote: Winners has CT beat on this one. “Compare at $85. Our price: $29.99”. Yeah go to Walmart and it’s $19.99.

Loblaws City Market once had Lavazza coffee on sale, two for $9, or $5 each. I lifted up the sale price tag and the regular price was underneath: $4.49! Their “sale” was charging you an extra 51¢, but if you buy two they charge you only an extra 2¢. Crooks.
Or pretty much any luggage sold anywhere (other than Costco). Suuure, someone once paid $850 for that Via Rail-branded no name suitcase.
Sr. Member
Apr 5, 2017
960 posts
719 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
Yeah, I've developed a pretty good sense for this. It's more of suspicion due to being so frugal and thinking there has to be a better deal.

Love using CamelCamel to find the best Amazon prices. Never get gouged.
Penalty Box
Feb 22, 2016
4745 posts
4348 upvotes
The only "retailer" worse than Crappy Tire at this is any store being liquidated by Hilco (we all saw this in action when they liquidated Target then Sears), followed closely by Benix and (as @Manatus points out), Winners.

I already explained in another thread how/why Chinese Tire gets away with this. They're within the law, but the law needs changed.
Deal Addict
Jan 12, 2017
2155 posts
2125 upvotes
Langley
Stop looking at how much is discounted.
Member
User avatar
Sep 10, 2007
495 posts
140 upvotes
Toronto
It's been one of the most common 'tricks' of the retail world for decades.

I no longer look at the 'discounted' differences they claim. I just look at the end price.
If I can afford to pay that total price, it's the only lower price around, and the store has good service, then I'll buy the product.
If not, I put my wallet away.
pmb

"When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt."
~ Henry J. Kaiser
Sr. Member
Jan 4, 2008
704 posts
337 upvotes
Mississauga
pmbpro wrote: It's been one of the most common 'tricks' of the retail world for decades.

I no longer look at the 'discounted' differences they claim. I just look at the end price.
If I can afford to pay that total price, it's the only lower price around, and the store has good service, then I'll buy the product.
If not, I put my wallet away.
That's one thing I have to constantly think about too when it comes to items I'm not as familiar with the regular price.

If an item is $90, on sale for $30, would I have been as interested if it cost $40 but is on sale for $30?
Penalty Box
Feb 22, 2016
4745 posts
4348 upvotes
easylistener wrote: Had a look through it and seems you may have a point there. This act mentions that the item should have been sold for either a long time (time test) or at reasonably large quantities (volume test) at the regular price for a retailer to advertise it as such. I believe the item I referred to originally has never been sold at 850 at any point in time because it's fairly new to the market. In fact, a higher-end version of the item is sold at source, staples and other retailers and I believe they have never priced those at 850 either.
Read the law closer and you'll see the "time test" is a joke, it only has to be sold at that price more than HALF THE TIME in order for a retailer to claim it as a regular price. Hence the 3 week cycle of fake sales at Chinese Tire. Sell that power bar for 3 weeks at $40 then bam, "75% off, on sale this week $10" when an identical model would be $5 or less at Dollarama.

The time test needs to be abolished and the volume test be the law. That would quickly end these shenanigans.

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